Monday, January 21, 2013

WB suggests increase in appetite for development assistance

The World Bank has urged government to increase its absorptive capacity as the current rate of disbursement of the global lender-funded projects are too low.
"Though the World Bank will continue to support Nepal in its development activities, the current rate of disbursement of the development partner-funded projects is too low," said country director of the World Bank Ellen Goldstein during her farewell meeting with the caretaker finance minister Barshaman Pun and finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi, here today.
Due to government's apathy and prolonged political transition, the country could not get full-fledged budget — for the current fiscal year — that has not only hit the business community but also the development works funded by the development partners like World Bank (WB).
The caretaker government led by UCPN-Maoist vice chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai failed to forge political consensus, in an absence of parliament, to bring the full-fledged budget. However, it has brought interim public expenditure arrangement twice.
Moreover, the caretaker government has also not been able to spend capital expenditure. It has been able to spend only 14.92 per cent of capital expenditure until the sixth month of the current fiscal year 2012-13, according to the Finance Ministry, which revealed that it has been able to spend Rs 7.7 billion till mid-January.
On one hand lack of full-fledged budget has hit the development activities pushing the country one decade back and on the other lack of government's appetite to absorb development assistance has resulted in low disbursement in the development partner-funded projects.
Sharing her Nepal experience, Goldstein also promised the relation between Nepal and the World Bank will further strengthen in the days to come. The relationship between the World Bank and Nepal is almost half century old and the development partner is an all-weather friend of Nepal, the outgoing country director added.
Meanwhile, visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission chief Mathew Brynn and finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi also held talks today at the latter's office.
Subedi, on the occasion, briefed the IMF mission chief about Nepal's legal and administrative progress on anti-money laundering commitments. The country has committed to approve three UN conventions — by approving Bill on
Mutual Legal Assistance, Bill on Extradition and Bill against Organised Crime — apart from forming AML department and amending the Act. The country has brought two ordinance on Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition but has to approve Ordinance against Organised Crime.
"But the country has prepared a draft of amendment of the Anti-Money Laundering Act," Subedi said, asking for continuous help of the IMF for government's initiative in fighting the flow of dirty money.
Brynn, on the occasion, committed that International Monetary Fund will continue to support.

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